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Saguaro Trail - MSP, AZ

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Guide 35 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
2.1 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 0.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,711 feet
Elevation Gain 72 feet
Accumulated Gain 72 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 0.64
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
1  2019-09-15
Windgate Bell Loop
7  2017-12-10
Gateway Loop Trail - MSP
12  2017-11-24
Windgate Bell Loop
18  2016-09-11
Gateway Loop Trail - MSP
13  2015-12-15
Gateway Loop Trail - MSP
18  2015-03-14
MSP Photography workshop
2  2014-12-08
Wagner - Granite - Bluff - MMRP Loop
6  2014-01-28
Gateway Loop Trail - MSP
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov
Sun  6:15am - 6:24pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Author Full Detail Guide
Overview: Includes unnamed 0.1mi access segment plus official 0.3mi Saguaro Trail segment

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  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 1
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    MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 1
  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 2
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    MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 2
  • MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 3
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    MSP Rock Climbing Guide - Page 3
  • MSP - Approved Climbing Areas 2011
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    MSP - Approved Climbing Areas 2011
  • overview map
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One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Saguaro Trail - MSP
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I wanted to do an exercise hike not far from home, so I chose this one, even though it is not my favorite hike.

There was some cloud cover and nice breezes early in the hike, both of which were quite welcome.

I almost stepped on a rattlesnake that was curled up in a ball on the right side of the trail. I saw the snake just as my foot was about 6" away from stepping on him -- but the snake never moved, and I was able to lengthen my stride just in time to avoid stepping on the snake.

It was nice to do a low elevation hike for a change -- I could actually breathe on this hike!
Saguaro Trail - MSP
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It's been a week since I've hiked (the weather was my excuse). What a beautiful day for a near 10 miler in the beautiful McDowell Sonoran Preserve near Thompson Peak. Saw a mule deer and two of her babies. Saw snow-capped Four Peaks and Mt Ord, etc. Such a treat to see snow capped Arizona mountains. It's going to be a beautiful spring!
Saguaro Trail - MSP
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Gateway CC and Saguaro Loops
the temp is in the 70s :DANCE: Let's see... After work should I? go to strength workout class... go hike.... STOP right there, no need to even think about this one. I'm going hiking. I originally planned on Windgate Pass and back but once at the TH and because I was starting a little later than I wanted and I had a pretty decent hike planned for Saturday, I opted to just do the Gateway Loop.

Last time I went clockwise so I would go counterclockwise today. The hike wasn't as pretty as the last time in March but it was still nice; less to distract me. I think this is the easier way to hike this. I did have to stop a couple times to grab some pics of the blooming saguaros but I only had my cell phone. WHY? because my friend Ambika decided she wanted to take a picture of a dessert at a restaurant the other nite and when she fired up the camera, the lens shot right into the whip cream :sl: . So she had the camera to try and clean up the now sticky lens. I cannot tell you how funny that incident was in person. If AZ Highways Photoworkshop folks could have seen that :lol: .

Made it to the saddle and did the circle before heading on down the other side. Not many people out on the trail yet which is nice and one advantage of getting off work at 3. Soon I was down to level ground where I encountered a tourist family that had their sweaters arms tied in front around their neck. I thot it was an odd site to see I guess. When I walked by I noticed they weren't speaking English.

Since my mileage was lower than I wanted I did the Saguaro Trail which actually has a tad bit of elevation as it takes you around in a circle and back down to the Gateway Loop toward the VC.

A glorious day I tell ya! :y:
Saguaro Trail - MSP
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Fan and I did a loop with the Gateway TH and the Tom's Thumb TH.

We started at the Gateway TH and took:
- Saguaro trail
- Gateway Loop trail
- Bell pass trail
- Prospector trail
- Dixia Mine trail
- Pemberton trail

Fan And took a break and split up for a bit. Fan would do a shorter loop by continuing down the Pemberton to the Rock Knob intersection.

I did a longer loop by taking:
- Pemberton trail
- Granite trail
- Delsie trail
- County Park Connector
- Saguaro Nest trail
- Gooseneck trail
- Rock Knob trail (meet up with Fan)
- Marcus Trail
- Tom's Thumb Trail
- Windgate Pass Trail
- Gateway Loop trail
- Saguaro trail

Things of interest
- We saw a guy on a unicycle about 2 miles in. He only rode the unicycle on the smooth sections.
- I saw a deer in one of canyons on the south side of the McDowell’s.

It rained on us twice during the day.

I like the new Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve trails. I'll be back to check out more of them.
Saguaro Trail - MSP
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We decided today would be a good time to take a hike. With the temperatures rising it was now or when it was hotter. Hit the trail at the Gateway TH at 7:00am. The hike up to Tom's Thumb was actually cool.

Up at the thumb we ran into a couple of hikers, Mike and Karen, they were curious where the Ogre's Den was located. I explained that there were two places that seemed to have that name, the one with the "indian" symbol and the one with the picnic table. They were surprised to find out that they were actually two locations. Took them to the small one with the "indian" symbol first then took them over to the large one with picnic table and sleeping area.

I had an appointment for 2:30 and figured I had plenty of time for the hike. But with the trips to the dens time was running out quickly. So the trip back down was done about as fast as we could manage. When we reached the bottom of the East End trail the temperature was noticeably raising. The Windgate Pass trail was quite warm. Didn't see another person from when we started down the East End trail and on the Widgate Pass trail until we hit Inspiration Point. I made my appointment with 10 minutes to spare, but did so without taking a shower. Still was able to get my hair cut.
Saguaro Trail - MSP
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Quick lunch time hike in the McDowells on a work from home day. Made a clockwise loop on the Gateway Loop Trail. I then connected to the Levee Trail and headed back toward the TH. Before finishing I made a quick loop on the Saguaro Trail which takes about five minutes. Uneventful day.
Saguaro Trail - MSP
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Gateway Big Loop Trail - McDowells
This is for those wanting something more than the standard Gateway Loop trail provides.

This hike started at the Gateway Center, taking the Gateway Loop trail counter-clockwise to the Paradise Trail. The Paradise trail ended being a much nice trail than I'd expected. On the map, I saw the track going through neighborhoods, but actually you don't see allot of them, and it ends up being a nice "stretcher" of a hike, for what is to come later. From Paradise to the Quartz trail until it ended, and then the .8 mile bushwhack up the hill to the saddle at N33 38.423 W111 48.189, to meet up with the Thompson peak trail. This section was a bit dicey in spots and was slow going due to the loose rocks and 3 stops to remove Cholla from my ankles.

Once on the Thompson Peak trail it was a steep slog to the top. When you start getting close to the top, this without a doubt is the steepest concrete I have ever been on. I kept wondering how in the heck they even poured it. Now it was quite windy today, and I had problems keeping my hat on at times, but once I got to the top...... it was cold and it was a gale force! I took a quick video and some shots and retreated down a ways to find some protection from the wind and eat some lunch.

Down to the bottom of Thompson Peak trail and off on the Prospector trail. I really like the east side of the McDowell's, the trails are in great shape and you feel like you are miles from the city. Next, I met up with the Bell Pass trail and took that over to Windgate Pass, and down to meet up with the Gateway loop trail and back to Gateway Center to finish things up.

I was really surprised today that with the cooler temperatures I didn't see more people out there today. Once I was off the Gateway Loop trail proper, and until I got back on the Gateway Loop trail proper I only saw one person all day. (and he was driving down the Thompson Peak trail from the towers. That's basically 6 hours with seeing nobody.

Loved the cool weather...

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Gateway Trailhead
Take the 101 to the Princess Drive/Pima Road exit. Go north on Pima Road to Union Hills Drive. Turn right (east) on Union Hills Drive to Thompson Peak Parkway. Turn right on Thompson Peak Parkway and head south about 1/2 mile to the Gateway Visitor Center on the left. There's plenty of parking and nice facilities here.


Take 101 to Bell Road exit (by way of either FLW Blvd exit 39 arriving from the south or Pima/Princess exit 36 arriving from the north). Go East on Bell road 1.7 miles and turn left onto Thompson Peak Parkway. The Gateway is 0.7 miles on the right. (18333 N. Thompson Peak Parkway)

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 28.4 mi, 36 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 126 mi, 2 hours 6 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 141 mi, 2 hours 33 mins
page created by joebartels on Feb 15 2012 11:46 am
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